Landlocked Laos might be quieter than Southeast Asian neighbors like Vietnam and Thailand, but 2018 could transform the country into the region’s next hot spot. Wattay International Airport, in the capital of Vientiane, is set to complete a terminal expansion to accommodate more international links next year, but the biggest changes are foot in the UNESCO World Heritage–inscribed town of Luang Prabang, in central Laos. This serene riverside spot lures travelers to its golden Buddhist temples, French-colonial architecture, hiking trails, nearby elephant sanctuaries — and now, glamorous new digs. Last year, the design-forward Azerai opened inside a century-old French-colonial building that was formerly an officer’s quarters. The debut concept from Aman Resorts founder Adrian Zecha has airy, light wood interiors that nod to local culture in their use of batik textiles and Laotian artwork. There’s also an 80-foot swimming pool in a tree-shaded central courtyard. The upcoming Rosewood Luang Prabang aims to be a destination in itself. Opening in mid 2018, this highly anticipated resort will feature pavilion-style villas, luxury tents, and a spa that seems to float above the jungle. —Kate Springer
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Located at the tip of the Baja Peninsula, the two small colonial towns of Cabo San Lucas and San José del Cabo have become the hottest vacation destinations in Mexico in recent years. With wide, pristine beaches, lively nightclubs, glam resorts, and a farm-to-table food scene, the oasis of Los Cabos is drawing tourists in record numbers. As a result, the hotel scene is booming, with a clutch of new developments and renovations completed this year along the Tourist Corridor, including the sleek Chileno Bay, an Auberge Resort, and a stunning beachfront Solaz resort.
Marcy puts herself in a near-death state to recover her lost memories from when she was reset. The memories she receives include those of the original host Marcy, showing that the host's intellectual disability was caused by Vincent/001 testing Simon's incomplete consciousness transfer technology on her. While she is out of commission, Mac and the rest of the team are ordered to provide Hall with backup in protecting the future 53rd President of the United States, who is currently a prepubescent girl.
Philip, while under the influence of drugs, commits to memory an anti-viral formula sent via messenger. The information is passed on to fellow Traveler Derek via Jenny so it can be synthesized and distributed to other Traveler teams as well as people targeted to be saved in order to minimize the spread and mutation of a flu like virus that historically killed 70,000 people. However, two weeks after dissemination, people around the world start getting sick with a virus even more dangerous than the original one. With no contact from the Director, and the death toll rising, Marcy and the team rush to find a solution before it's too late.
The capital may be set on banks of the Potomac, but it’s never had a reputation as a great waterfront city. That could all be about to change, thanks to the $2.5 billion, 24-acre District Wharf, which opened in October just south of the National Mall. The shiny new InterContinental Washington D.C.-The Wharf offers access to the development’s new parks, music venues, 50-plus shops, and 20 restaurants — which include projects from area chefs like Fabio Trabocchi, Mike Isabella, and wunderkind Kwame Onwuachi. This is also set to be a banner year for culture: the Freer and Sackler galleries, sister museums that champion Asian art, recently reopened after a 20-month renovation, the National Gallery of Art will host the first-ever show dedicated to Cézanne’s portraits from March to July, and the Kennedy Center continues its inaugural season of hip-hop programming curated by Q-Tip. —Brooke Porter Katz
From the Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast to the coral-reefed Keys, the state is filled with an array of activities for all ages and tastes. On a Florida vacation, families can plan several days of theme park fun in the Orlando area, or they can ride horses at a secluded ranch in central Florida, ride bikes along nature trails in north Florida, learn about astronauts and rocket science at the Space Coast or take one of the garden tours in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
In 2006, a Travelers commercial titled Snowball was nominated for an Emmy. Snowball featured a man, walking down a steep San Francisco sidewalk, who trips and knocks over a table of items at a garage sale. The man and the items roll down the street, forming a ball which gathers garbage cans, pedestrians, construction materials, motorcycles, light poles, and other items, in a manner very reminiscent of the familiar cartoon "snowball" effect or the cult video game Katamari Damacy. The creators of the ad say it is simply based on the snowball effect, they have never heard of the game, and that the resulting similarity was a surprise to them.
The Emerald Isle has seen a rush of American visitors recently, spurred by favorable exchange rates and increased airlift. If you haven’t yet made the trip, now’s the time to go. Adare Manor, a hotel set in a grand 19th-century mansion on 840 acres of rolling County Limerick countryside, reopened in November after an 18-month overhaul. The picturesque estate now has a new 42-room wing, a redesigned golf course, and the first La Mer Spa in the British Isles. Ireland’s whiskey scene has been quietly blooming for the last decade, and recently historic estates have embraced the trend. In August, Slane Castle in County Meath opened its new distillery to the public, and later this year, the iconic Powerscourt Estate in County Wicklow will debut its own craft facility. In Dublin, Pearse Lyons, a wealthy Irishman with Kentucky-bourbon bona fides, recently opened his namesake distillery in the former St. James’s Church, and more whiskey destinations with visitor centers are soon to come from the Dublin Liberties and Roe & Co. And now that Luas, Dublin’s light rail system, has finally completed its latest expansion, getting around the city is a breeze — the $433-million project has linked two lines and added new stops near many of the city center’s most popular sights. —Lila Battis
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Just an hour and a half north of Melbourne, Nagambie Lakes is one of Australia’s oldest viticulture areas, with some vines dating back to the mid 19th century. This part of Victoria has long been considered a great day-trip destination for its outdoor activities — waterskiing, rowing, and sailing — and renowned wineries. Now there’s reason to linger, thanks to the November debut of the Mitchelton Hotel, a 58-room resort and spa at Mitchelton Winery. With its fine-dining restaurant, the Ministry of Chocolate, and 5½ miles of trails circumnavigating the vineyard, it’s the perfect base for a weekend in the region. Start your trip with a tasting on-site — Mitchelton is known for its Riesling — before venturing to other nearby wineries like Tahbilk, which has been producing quality vintages since 1861, and Goulburn Terrace, which specializes in natural wines. Other popular local vintners include McPherson Wines, David Traeger Wines, and Box Grove Vineyard. —John Scarpinato